First thing first – from now on, I’m going to spend almost zero time predicting the Oscars. This year, that’s precisely what I did, and I got 87 out of 107 Feature nominations correct – including all 9 Best Picture nominations, 4 out of 5 directors, 17 out of 20 acting nominees and all 10 screenplays. I basically winged my predictions this year, and did a hell of lot better than when I actually put thought into them. Who knew?
We knew La La Land was going to be the nomination leader – but tying All About Eve and Titanic with 14 nominations, the most all time, is a little bit surprising. It’s hard to argue with those nominations (well, some of them – I don’t think it needed two song nominations, or the costume design nomination or the Sound Editing nomination) – but while I’m not a La La Land superfan (when I do my top 10 list next week, it sits outside of it) – it’s a worthy nomination leader – and likely Best Picture winner. The other major nominees – Moonlight and Arrival with 8 each and Hacksaw Ridge and Manchester by the Sea with 6 nominations – are not overly surprising – although, Arrival should probably be in second with 9 (how Amy Adams missed, with all those nominations for that film, is beyond me) – and Hacksaw Ridge was stronger than I expected – but not by much. Moonlight or Manchester by the Sea are the ones that may challenge La La Land – but as of right now, there’s no real indication that either will. The question is whether their directors (Barry Jenkins and Kenneth Lonergan) can win the screenplay prizes, while Chazelle wins director, to spread the wealth a little.
Affleck, Stone, Ali and Davis are still probably your winners. Ruth Negga in Loving – I love her in it, although I love Joel Edgerton in it even more – was the only real surprise. Streep got her 20th nominations for Florence Foster Jenkins – which is the laziest nomination of the day. Even among Oscar films, they could have gone with Annette Bening in 20th Century Women, Taraji P. Henson in Hidden Figures or Amy Adams in Arrival – not to mention a hell of lot more under the radar nominees. I was happy that, unlike the Golden Globes and BAFTAs, the Academy at least knew that Michael Shannon delivered the best performance in Nocturnal Animals, not Aaron Taylor Johnson.
The rest of the nominees were expected – and for the most part, good. For one thing, at least all of my winners (top 10 coming next week) were at least nominated – something that hasn’t happened for me in years. Most happy to see Isabelle Huppert finally get her 1st nomination. I wish I was among those who loved Viggo Mortenson in Captain Fantastic – because it always feels good to be a fan of the little indie film that squeezes in for a nomination – but I wasn’t.
I will be rooting for Lin Manuel Miranda to complete his EGOT – winning for How Far I’ll Go for Moana – not only because I am a fan of his work (I saw Hamilton on Broadway last week, and loved it – even knowing the songs inside out) – but because he deserves it over the La La Land songs – which may have the edge, but at the same time, that film has two nominations here, and may split the vote.
Super happy that Mica Levi’s brilliant Jackie score got nominated – and happy in general that the music branch went with four first time nominees for Score – usually, we’re lucky to get one. Happy to see The Lobster screenplay got nominated, Rodrigo Prieto’s cinematography on Silence get in (the film’s only nomination), Kubo and the Two Strings get into Visual Effects and Hail Caesar in Production Design. Not happy to see Passengers show up twice, and 13 Hours show up once – meaning, I’ll actually have to watch those at some point. Also not happy that the Academy really does limit what they see – something like The Handmaiden should clearly be in about a half dozen “below the line” categories, and didn’t pick up one nomination.
I don’t have all that much to say – the nominations were not overly surprising, and the race seems to be fairly dull this year. That may change, and I may come back with another post later – before my winner predictions post – but I may not – we’ll have to see if there is anything worth talking about.appy Hapop